June 15, 2015
The evolution will be poemed, painted, photographed, documented, blogged, set to music and told in story.
The evolution will be delivered by a rainbow of human beings, everyday sort of folk ….
The evolution will not be televised.
There are people for whom the arts exists almost exclusively as an aid to social change, to political discourse– not as some sort of didacticism – but as a discussion, a wake up call, a way of approaching some truth, finding some meaning, encouraging resolution. Many of us here number among them. All of us hope for kind, just and rational social change.
We write and dream about an inclusive appreciation of diversity that will promote a world without war, a world that respects all sentient life, all humans no matter their race or national origin, religion or lack thereof, economic or social status, mental or physical disability, age or sex, or sexual preference or gender orientation. We dream of a humanity that recognizes itself as an element of the natural environment not something apart from and over it.
We may be inspired by personal experience like Colin Stewart – our youngest ever contributor – who bravely articulates his experience of being bullied and marginalized in school in No Child Is Safe. Michael Watson, a therapist, a Native American shaman and a polio victim brings us Still Here: Meditations on Disabilism and Lara/Trace Writes About Residential Schools, those schools established ” to save the person by removing the Indian.”
For some people the impetus is the direct experience of war, which is the ultimate expression of hate and exclusion. Silva Merjanian gifts us with an essay this month, As with any war … Silva grew up in a war-torn Beirut. And, new to us is Michael Dickel, an American-Israeli who offers three poems from his new book War Surrounds Us.
Priscilla Galasso, whose appreciation for nature has birthed so many wonderful essays here, askes us to consider the diversity in nature, worthy of nurture and celebration not for ourselves but for its very isness in her essay Diversity and Car(ry)ing Capacity — Spiritual Lessons from Nature.
The love of our children is a sure motivation to write about and work for respect and inclusion. We see this in Naomi Baltuck’s touching Mine (yours, ours), the second of our two lead features.
The muse is inspired by empathy and ideals, observation and proximity. Terri Stewart gives us one of our lead pieces this month, a moving poem, Created to Be Included. Sharon Frye shows a tender understanding of a Vietnamese refugee in her poem At Model Nails. This is the first time Sharon’s work is included here, but her poetry has found a home in many other publications including The Galway Review, The Portuguese journal, “O Equador das Coisas,” Mad Swirl, and The Blue Max Review (Ireland).
Sometimes the lives and work of people who lived at other times and/or other places resonates for us. Roses and Their Homilies is an homage to Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, the stellar poet of 17th Century New Spain. The clerical authority of her day simply could not put her intellect together with her womanhood. Tragically for her and for us, this caused her to give up her writing five years before her death.
Each month the core team picks a theme. We don’t dictate the slant. We give everyone free rein. It’s always a surprise to see how the theme is addressed, who will hammer the theme dead on and who will address it obliquely. This month, when all the work was read, sorted and organized, most of us chose to “celebrate” diversity by illustrating just how slow and insufficient are the reforms and just how resistant humanity can be to inclusion. There is some deeply passionate work here.
I can’t help but think that the justice so many of us seek is rooted in transforming values. Hence, it is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Perhaps it is most evident in our blogosphere and social networking, in the heart-born prose and poems of simple folk like you and me with nary a politician or corporatist among us.
Perhaps the true evolution – the one that will foster permanent transformation – is a bottom-up thing, more likely to be blogged than broadcast, rising from homespun poetry and outsider art – sometimes rudimentary and awkward, but always quiet and true and slow like a secret whispered from one person to the next. It is something stewing even as we write, paint, make music, read and encourage one another. There is bone and muscle in what we do. Individually we have small “audiences.” Collectively we speak to enormous and geographically diverse populations.
I think I hear keyboards clicking and bare feet marching. Or perhaps poetic fancy has caught my spirit tonight and all is dream …I hope not. Write on … Read on … and be the peace …
So let some impact from my words echo resonance
lend impulse to the bright looming dawn
Dennis Brutus (1924-2009), South African poet, journalist, activist and educator
In the spirit of peace, love and community,
TABLE OF CONTENTS WITH LINKS
Lara/Trace Writes About Residential Schools, Michael Watson
Still Here: Writing Against Disablism, Michael Watson
At Model Nails, Sharon Frye
Roses and Their Homilies, Jamie Dedes
British Bulldogs, Great Speeches … and poetry, John Anstie
OUR FABULOUS HEADER PHOTOGRAPH THIS MONTH IS THE WORK OF TERRI STEWART UNDER CC (BY-NC) LICENSE.
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